If you’re approaching surgery for prostate cancer, give yourself a pat on the back. Getting a proper diagnosis and treatment for this type of cancer is essential for your long-term health and vitality.
At the same time, it’s natural to have concerns about your well-being and sexual function following your treatment. Thankfully, you don’t have to go it alone.
At Kane Health, serving the Silicon Valley, Atherton, and the San Francisco Bay area of California, our expert team takes a personalized and holistic approach to help you regain sexual health following prostate cancer treatment.
Let’s delve into prostate surgery, including what to expect in the weeks and months following your procedure.
While prostate surgery is sometimes performed to treat a significantly enlarged prostate gland — also known as prostatic hyperplasia (BPH) — and severe urinary symptoms, it most often treats prostate cancer.
While radical prostatectomies remove your entire prostate gland and nearby lymph nodes for localized cancer, simple prostatectomies remove the portion of your prostate that’s blocking urine flow.
A radical prostatectomy may be performed with robot assistance, which involves numerous small incisions. An open radical prostatectomy involves a larger incision in your lower abdomen. Through that incision, your surgeon removes your prostate.
Once your prostate has been removed, a catheter is placed in your penis to drain your bladder.
Following your prostate removal surgery, you’ll likely stay in the hospital for a few days. Meanwhile, your catheter may remain in place for 1-2 weeks. After, your provider will remove the catheter, and you’ll begin urinating naturally on your own.
During the initial 1-2 weeks of recovery, you may notice swelling in your penis and scrotum, as well as pain at the incision sites. You may be prescribed medication to manage the pain or instructed to take an over-the-counter option. Gently applying a cloth-wrapped ice pack for 10-20 minutes can also help.
You’ll also need to rest and avoid certain activities, such as strenuous exercise and intercourse, for the first few weeks. Gently walking each day can support your recovery.
Around one month following surgery, you’ll likely be able to get back to work and other daily activities. With your doctor’s approval, you can resume vigorous exercise at this time too.
Sex is also often approved and potentially helpful a month or so after prostate surgery. Stimulating the nerves involved is considered the first step in regaining normal sexual function. Keep in mind that sex can be pleasurable without full erections, which may take more months to achieve.
Erectile dysfunction and urinary incontinence are common following prostate surgery. Within 6-12 months, however, these symptoms often improve significantly or diminish.
Performing pelvic floor exercises called Kegels can strengthen the muscles involved with these functions for enhanced recovery.
If you continue to struggle with sex, treatment from our team at Kane Health can help. You can also lower your risk for lingering problems with our post-prostate cancer recovery (PPCR) program.
Our PPCR program at Kane Health is a comprehensive program designed to optimize your recovery. Dr. Threatt personalizes each plan, addressing your specific needs for the best results.
This innovative program involves:
By addressing the factors contributing to your loss of sexual function during cancer treatment, we help you regain meaningful and lasting function.
To learn more about prostate surgery recovery or get the support you need, call Kane Health or request an appointment through our website today.